Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Eight)

Cease Fire! While there is serious risk of a flare up, it appears that major hostilities have ended.

"Hours after a bomb ripped through a bus in Tel Aviv, apparently sinking all hope of ending eight days of violence in Gaza, Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

The deal came into effect at 9pm local time following a frantic final day of diplomacy in which Ms Clinton shuttled between Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo to help seal the seal.

Around 18 rockets were fired in the first 90 minutes of the ceasefire, but hours later it appeared as if it was being observed by both sides. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had warned it might take some time to impose discipline on all the militant cells.

Following the cease fire, a dozen rockets were fired out of Gaza. After that flair up, it appears that the cease fire has held.

"Twelve rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit Israel on Wednesday in the first hours that followed a ceasefire agreement ending hostilities in the week-long Gaza conflict, a police spokesman told AFP.

The Israeli spokesman added that the attacks caused no injuries or damage, with the rockets mostly landing in open fields in the south of the Jewish state.

A ceasefire agreement announced in Cairo on Wednesday went into effect at 1900 GMT, requiring both sides to halt fire immediately and for Israel to start opening Gaza's crossings if the truce holds for 24 hours.

Early reports indicate that Both Morsi and Clinton deserve serious credit.

"The Gaza cease-fire deal reached Thursday marks a startling trajectory for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi: an Islamist leader who refuses to talk to Israelis or even say the country's name mediated for it and finally turned himself into Israel's de facto protector.

The accord inserts Egypt to an unprecedented degree into the conflict between Israel and Hamas, establishing it as the arbiter ensuring that militant rocket fire into Israel stops and that Israel allows the opening of the long-blockaded Gaza Strip and stops its own attacks against Hamas.

In return, Morsi emerged as a major regional player. He won the trust of the United States and Israel, which once worried over the rise of an Islamist leader in Egypt but throughout the week-long Gaza crisis saw him as the figure most able to deliver a deal with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

"I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who met Morsi Thursday, said at a Cairo press conference with Egypt's foreign minister announcing the accord.

Here is Clinton commenting on the cease Fire.

Video embedded below.

The Terrorists had moved beyond just launching rockets, and bombed a bus in Tel Aviv today. While two dozen people were injured, fortunately there were no fatalities.

"A bus bombing in this seaside city Wednesday appears to be strengthening the Israeli public's support for a ground offensive in Gaza.
Twenty-four people were injured, three seriously, when a bomb left in a bag on a bus exploded shortly after midday on the busy Shaul HaMelech Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

Last week, Hamas threatened to renew deadly bombings against civilians in Israel in a Hebrew-language video released on its YouTube account.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the search for the person who left the bomb was continuing and investigators were examining the shrapnel and other remnants of the explosive device. He said there had been no official claim of responsibility for the bombing, and police were uncertain whether it was carried out by an individual or an organized terrorist group.

The Palestinians celebrated the attack, hoping that there would eventually be Israeli fatalities, while passing out candy.

Videos embedded below.

The IDF have put out this summary of the whole operation.

Tweet embedded below.

Al Jazeera reports the number of Palestinians killed at 162.

"Before the announcement in Egypt, Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continued for an eighth day.

Twenty people were killed in Gaza on Wednesday, according to medical officials, bringing the death toll to a total of 162 since Israel's military operation was launched. Seven children were among those killed.

The Palestinian center for Human Rights reports a fewer dead, but claims around 2/3rds were civilian.

"Since the beginning of the offensive:

- Palestinian Deaths Rise to 136, Including 91 Civilians, and 941 Wounded, Including 922 Civilians
- 28 Children Killed and 258 Others Wounded
- 13 Women Killed and 149 Others Wounded
- 3 Journalists Killed

Israel has released the following figures for their casualty count.

"More than 1,300 rockets have been fired at Israel since Saturday (10 Nov), over 1,100 since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense (14 Nov), landing mostly in the south. The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system has intercepted over 400 rockets, preventing them from striking populated areas in Israel.

Israeli casualties: 5 killed (4 civilians and 1 soldier), 7 in critical condition, 7 in moderate condition and 204 lightly injured (figures of wounded include 16 soldiers).

Past Posts on Operation Pillar of Defense (from first to last):
Berman Post: Israel Launches Operation "Pillar of Defense"
Berman Post: Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Two)
Berman Post: Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Three)
Berman Post: Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Four)
Berman Post: Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Five)
Berman Post: Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Six)
Berman Post: Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Seven)

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